Home Kristen Hawkes
Kristen Hawkes

Distinguished Professor
219 Stewart
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Areas of Specialization

human evolution, behavioral ecology, sociobiology, hunter-gatherers, life history evolution


I continue to try to leverage observations of foraging and social strategies among hunter-gatherers to help explain what happened in human evolution. For example, two current collaborative projects are 1) modeling life history evolution in our lineage and 2) measuring aspects of aging in captive chimpanzees. Both build on previous work on life history evolution that began with ethnographic findings in two large field projects studying the behavioral ecology of hunter-gatherer populations, one the Ache of eastern Paraguay and the other the Hadza of northern Tanzania. Results of our systematic quantitative observations suggested that, contrary to long-standing expectations, men's hunting was aimed more at status competition than at provisioning mates and offspring. Grandmothers played the key role in providing for youngsters when the mothers of those youngsters bore their next baby. These findings, combined with theory about mammalian life history evolution, indicated that the provisioning role played by grandmothers might explain the evolution of human longevity. That grandmother hypothesis highlights key differences in life history between people and our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, including the substantially greater longevity in humans - even though female fertility ends at about the same age in both species - and the strongly male biased sex ratio in the fertile ages that is a distinctive feature of human populations.  Mathematical modeling confirms the plausible role of helpful grandmothering and its consequences for male biased sex ratios.  Effects of both on human social behavior appear to be profound. I continue both the modeling collaborations and also data collection and analysis aimed at improving quantitative measures of aging in captive chimpanzees for comparison with measures made on people.

Selected Publications


Hawkes K, JF O’Connell, & NG Blurton Jones. 2014  More lessons from the Hadza about men’s work. Hum Nat  DOI 10.1007/s12110-014-9212-5 published online: 25 September 2014. http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/99/art%253A10.1007%252Fs12110-014-9212-5.pdf?auth66=1411919017_194f225d47b791808fe0edf2c789d2a7&ext=.pdf

Tackney J, Cawthon RM, Coxworth JE & K Hawkes 2014. Blood cell telomere lengths and shortening rates of chimpanzee and human females. Am J Hum Biol Article first published online: 15 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.22538 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajhb.22538/full

Kim PS, McQueen JS, Coxworth JE & Hawkes K. 2014. Grandmothering drives the evolution of longevity in a probabilistic model. Journal of Theoretical Biology 353:84-94. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519314001465

Hawkes K 2014 Primate sociality to human cooperation, why us and not them? Hum Nat 25 (1):28-48. First published online: 4 December 2013. DOI 10.1007/s12110-013-9184-x.http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.1007/s12110-013-9184-x


Hawkes K, Coxworth JE 2013 Grandmothers and the evolution of human longevity: A Review of findings and future directions. Evolutionary Anthropology 22:294–302. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/evan.21382/full.

Blevins JK, Coxworth JE, Herndon JG & Hawkes K. 2013 Adrenal androgens and aging: Female chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) compared with women. Am J Phys Anth 151:643–648.http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.22300/full


Kim PS, JE Coxworth & K Hawkes 2012 Increased longevity evolves from grandmothering. Proc Roy Soc B279: 4880–4884 http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/279/1749/4880. Supplement. pdf. Chosen by the Faculty of 1000 http://f1000.com/prime/717965135.

Hawkes K. 2012 Grandmothers and their consequences. Contribution to Calcano & Fuentes, What makes us Human? Answers from evolutionary anthropology. Evol Anthropol 21(5):189. pdf

Hawkes K. 2012 Stag hunts or rearing environments? comment on M Tomasello et al. Two key steps in the evolution of human cooperation: The interdependence hypothesis. Curr Anthropol 53(6):687-88.


Hawkes K, KR Smith & JK Blevins. 2011 Human actuarial aging increases faster when background death rates are lower: a role for heterogeneity? Evolution 66:103-14.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01414.x/full. .pdf. Chosen by the Faculty of 1000 http://f1000.com/13478958.

Hawkes, K. 2011. "Human aging and menopause", in Nesse, R. (ed.), Evolution and Medicine: How New Applications Advance Research and Practice, The Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection, Henry Stewart Talks Ltd, London (online at http://hstalks.com/?t=BL0142770-Hawkes)

Hawkes, K, Kim PS, Kennedy B, Bohlender R, Hawks J 2011. A reappraisal of grandmothering and natural selection. Proc. R. Soc. B 278:1936-1938. pdf.


Hawkes K, O’Connell JF, Coxworth JE. 2010. Family provisioning is not the only reason men hunt. Current Anthropology 51(2):259-264. pdf.

Hawkes, K & KR Smith 2010 Do women stop early? Similarities in fertility decline between humans and chimpanzees. Ann NY Acad Sci 1204: 43–53. pdf.

Coxworth, JE, Hawkes K. 2010 Ovarian follicle loss in humans and mice: Lessons from statistical model comparison. Human Reproduction.Vol.25, No.7 pp. 1796–1805. pdf

Hawkes, K. 2010 Grandmother effects, heterogeneity, and the evolution of human aging: Guidance from human-chimpanzee comparisons. Proc Nat Acad Sci (USA) 107 (Supplement 2): 8977-8984. pdf.


Hawkes K, KR Smith, SL Robson. Mortality and fertility rates in humans and chimpanzees: how within-species variation complicates Cross-species comparisons. Am J Hum Biol. 21:578–586. pdf.

Hawkes, K & KR Smith.Evaluating grandmother effects. Am J Phys Anthropol 140: 173-176. pdf.


Jones KP, LC Walker, D Anderson, A Lacreuse, SL Robson, K Hawkes. Depeltion of ovarian follicles with age in chimpanzees: Similarities to humans. Biology of Reproduction 77:247-251. pdf.


Robson, S. L., C. P. van Schaik, and K. Hawkes The derived features of human life history. In The Evolution of Human Life History. K. Hawkes and R Paine, eds, Santa Fe and Oxford, SAR Press. pdf.

Hawkes, K. Life history theory and human evolution. In The Evolution of Human Life History. Kristen Hawkes and Richard Paine, eds. Santa Fe and Oxford, SAR Press, 45-93.

Hawkes, K. Slow life histories and human evolution. In The Evolution of Human Life History. Kristen Hawkes and Richard Paine, eds. Santa Fe and Oxford, SAR Press, 95-126.


Hawkes, K. and N. J. Blurton Jones
Human age structures, paleodemography, and the Grandmother Hypothesis. In Grandmotherhood: The Evolutionary Significance of the Second Half of Female Life, edited by E. Voland, A. Chasiotis, and W. Schiefenhovel, pp. 118-140. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press (corrected from the published version).

Hawkes, K. and J. F. O'Connell
News and Views: How old is human longevity?
Journal of Human Evolution 49:650-653.


Hawkes, K.
Mating, parenting and the evolution of human pair bonds. In Kinship and Behavior in Primates , edited by B. Chapais & C. Berman, pp 443-473. Oxford University Press.

The Grandmother Effect. Nature 428:128-9. (News & Views on Lahdenpera et al. 2004 Nature)


Hawkes, K.
Grandmothers and the evolution of human longevity. American Journal of Human Biology 15:380-400.

Hawkes, K., J. F. O'Connell & N. G. Blurton Jones
Human life histories: Primate tradeoffs, grandmothering socioecology, and the fossil record. In Primate Life Histories & Socioecology, edited by P. Kappeler and M. Pereira, pp 204-227. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.pdf


Blurton Jones, N., Kristen Hawkes and James F. O'Connell.
Antiquity of postreproductive life: Are there modern impacts on hunter-gatherer postreproductive life spans? American Journal of Human Biology 14:184-205.

Hawkes, K. and R. Bliege Bird
Showing off, handicap signaling, and the evolution of men's work. Evolutionary Anthropology 11:58-67.

O'Connell, J. F., K. Hawkes and N. G. Blurton Jones
Meat-eating, grandmothering and the evolution of early human diets. In Human Diet: Its Origin and Evolution, edited by P. Unger & M. Teaford, pp. 49-60. Westport, Conn.: Bergin & Garvey.

O'Connell, J. F., K. Hawkes, K. Lupo and N. G. Blurton Jones
Male strategies and Plio-Pleistocene archaeology. Journal of Human Evolution 43:831-872.


Hawkes, K., J. F. O'Connell and N.G. Blurton Jones
Hunting and nuclear families. Current Anthropology 42:5, pp. 681-709.

Hawkes, K., J. F. O'Connell and N. G. Blurton Jones
Hadza meat sharing. Evolution and Human Behavior 22(2001):113-142.

Hawkes, K.
Is meat the hunter's property? Ownership and explanations of hunting and sharing. In Meat-eating and Human Evolution, edited by C. Stanford and H. Bunn, pp. 219-236. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pdf


Blurton Jones, N. G., F. Marlowe, K. Hawkes and J. F. O'Connell
Hunter-gatherer divorce rates and the paternal provisioning theory of human monogamy. In Adaptation and Human Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective, edited by L. Cronk, N. Chagnon & W. Irons, pp. 65-84. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.pdf

Hawkes, K.
Big game hunting and the evolution of egalitarian societies: Lessons from the Hadza. In Hierarchies in Action: Cui Bono?, edited by M. Diehl. Center for Archaeological Investigations, Occasional Paper 27:59-83. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.pdf

Hawkes, K., J. F. O'Connell and N. G. Blurton Jones
Why do women have mid-life menopause? Grandmothering and the evolution of human longevity. In 10th Reinier de Graff Symposium: Female Reproductive Aging, edited by E. R. te Velde and F. J. Broekmans, pp. 27-42. New York: Pantheon.

Hawkes, K., J. F. O'Connell, N. G. Blurton Jones, H. Alvarez and E. L. Charnov
The grandmother hypothesis and human evolution. In Adaptation and Human Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective, edited by L. Cronk, N. Chagnon & W. Irons, pp. 231-252. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.


Blurton Jones, N. G., K. Hawkes, and J. F. O'Connell
Some current ideas about the evolution of the human life history. In Comparative Primate Socioecology, edited by P. C. Lee, pp. 140-166. Cambridge University Press.

O'Connell, J. F., K. Hawkes, and N.G. Blurton Jones
Grandmothering and the evolution of Homo erectus. Journal of Human Evolution 36:461-485.


Hawkes, K., J. F. O'Connell, N.G. Blurton Jones, H. Alvarez, and E.L. Charnov.
Grandmothering, menopause, and the evolution of human life histories. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 95, pp. 1336-1339.


Blurton Jones, N. G., K. Hawkes and J. F. O'Connell
Why do Hadza children forage? In Uniting Psychology and Biology: Integrative Perspectives on Human Development, edited by N. Segal, G. E. Weisfeld, and CC. Weisfeld, pp 279-313. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Hadza women's time allocation, offspring provisioning and the evolution of long postmenopausal life spans. Current Anthropology 38:4, 551-577.

Hawkes, K., J. F. O'Connell and L. Rogers
The behavioral ecology of modern hunter-gatherers and human evolution Trends in Ecology and Evolution 12:29-32.


Blurton Jones, N. G., K. Hawkes and J. F. O'Connell
The global process and local ecology: How should we explain differences between the Hadza and the !Kung? In Cultural Diversity among Twentieth Century Foragers: An African Perspective, edited by S. Kent, pp. 159-187. Cambridge: CUP.

Hawkes, K.
The evolutionary basis of sex variations in the use of natural resources: Human examples. Population and Environment. 18:161-173.

Hawkes, K.
Behavioral ecology. In Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology. Edited by D. Levinson and M. Ember. Sponsored by the HRAF. Vol 1: 121- 125. Henry Holt Inc.

Hawkes, K.
Foraging differences between men and women: Behavioral ecology of the sexual division of labor. In Power, Sex and Tradition: The Archaeology of Human Ancestry, S. Shennan and J. Steele, eds., 283-305. London: Routledge .pdf


Hawkes, K., J.F. O'Connell and N.G. Blurton Jones
Hadza children's foraging: Juvenile dependency, social arrangements and mobility among hunter-gatherers. Current Anthropology 36:4, 688-700.

Hawkes, K., A. R. Rogers and E. L. Charnov
The male's dilemma: increased offspring production is more paternity to steal . Evolutionary Ecology 9:662-677.


Blurton Jones, N.G., K. Hawkes and P. Draper
Foraging returns of !Kung adults and children: Why didn't !Kung children forage? Journal of Anthropological Research 50(3): 217-248).

Blurton Jones, N.G., K. Hawkes and P. Draper
Differences between Hadza and !Kung children's work: Affluence of Practical Reason? In Key Issues in Hunter-Gatherer Research, E. S. Burch Jr and L. J. Ellanna eds, pp 189-215. Oxford: Berg.

Hawkes, K.
On life history evolution (a comment on Chisholm). Current Anthropology


Hawkes, K.
Why hunter-gatherers work: An ancient version of the problem of public goods. Current Anthropology 34 (4):341-361.pdf.

Hawkes, K.
On why male foragers hunt and share food: Reply to Hill and Kaplan. Current Anthropology 34(5):706-710.pdf.

Blurton Jones, N.G., L. Smith, K. Hawkes, J. O'Connell and C. Kamuzora
Demography of the Hadza, an increasing and high density population of savanna foragers. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 89:1159-1181.

Hawkes, K.
Sharing and collective action. In Ecology, Evolution , and Human Behavior, E.A. Smith and B. Winterhalder, eds., pp 269-300. Aldine de Gruyter.pdf.

O'Connell, J.F., K. Hawkes and N.G. Blurton Jones
Patterns in the distribution, site structure, and assemblage composition of Hadza kill-butchering sites. Journal of Archaeological Science 19:319-345.


Hawkes, K.
On sharing and work (a comment on Bird-David). Current Anthropology 33(4): 404-407.pdf.

Hawkes, K. & J. F. O'Connell
On optimal foraging models and subsistence transitions. Current Anthropology 33(1): 63-66.pdf.


Hawkes, K.
Showing off: Tests of an hypothesis about men's foraging goals. Ethology and Sociobiology 12:29-54.

O'Connell, J. F., K. Hawkes and N.G. Blurton Jones
1991 Distribution of activities at Hadza base camps: Implications for analyses of archaeological site structure. In The Interpretation of Archaeological Spatial Patterning, edited by E.M. Kroll and T.D. Price, pp. 61-76. Plenum Press, New York.

Hawkes, K., O'Connell, J. F., and N.G. Blurton Jones
Hunting income patterns among the Hadza: Big game, common goods, foraging goals and the evolution of the human diet. Philosophical Transactions:Biological Sciences 334(1270): 243-250. Also in: Foraging Strategies and Natural Diet of Monkey's, Apes, and Humans, edited by A. Whiten and M. Widdowson (1992), pp. 83-91. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Vigilant, L., M. Stoneking, H. Harpending, K. Hawkes & A.C. Wilson
African populations and the evolution of human mitochondrial DNA. Science 253:1503-1507.


Hawkes, K.
Why do men hunt? Some benefits for risky strategies. In Risk and Uncertainty in Tribal and Peasant Economies, edited by E. Cashdan, pp. 145-166. Boulder: Westview Press.

O'Connell, J. F., K. Hawkes and N. G. Blurton Jones
Reanalysis of large mammal body part transport among the Hadza. Journal of Archaeological Science 17:301-316.


Blurton Jones, N. G., K. Hawkes and J. F. O'Connell
Modelling and measuring the costs of children in two foraging societies. In Comparative Socioecology: The Behavioural Ecology of Humans and Other Mammals, edited by V. Standen & R. Foley, pp. 367-390. London: Basil Blackwell.

Hawkes, K., J. F. O'Connell and N. G. Blurton Jones
Hardworking Hadza grandmothers. In Comparative Socioecology: The Behavioural Ecology of Humans and Other Mammals, edited by V. Standen & R.A. Foley, pp. 341-366. London: Basil Blackwell.


Hawkes, K. & E. L. Charnov 1988 Human fertility: Individual or group benefit? Current Anthropology 29(3):469-71. pdf.

O'Connell, J. F., K. Hawkes and N. G. Blurton Jones
Hadza hunting, butchering, and bone transport and their archaeological implications. Journal of Anthropological Research 44:113-61.

O'Connell, J. F., K. Hawkes and N. G. Blurton Jones
Hadza scavenging: Implications for Plio-Pleistocene hominid subsistence. Current Anthropology 29:356-363.


Hawkes, K.
How much food do foragers need? In Food and Evolution: Toward a Theory of Human Food Habits, edited by M. Harris & E. Ross, pp. 341-355. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Hawkes, K., K. Hill, H. Kaplan and A. M. Hurtado
A problem of bias in the ethnographic use of scan sampling. Journal of Anthropological Research 43(3):239-245.

Hawkes, K., H. Kaplan, K. Hill and A. M. Hurtado
Ache at the settlement: Contrasts between farming and foraging. Human Ecology 15(2):133-161.

Hill, K., H. Kaplan, K. Hawkes and A. M. Hurtado
Foraging decisions among Ache hunter-gatherers: New data and implications for optimal foraging models. Ethology and Sociobiology 8:1-36.


Hawkes, K. & J. F. O'Connell 1985 Optimal foraging models and the case of the !Kung. American Anthropologist 87:401-405.pdf

Hawkes, K., J. F. O'Connell, K. Hill and E.L. Charnov
How much is enough? Hunters and limited needs. Ethology and Sociobiology 6:3-15.

Hill, K., H. Kaplan, K. Hawkes and A.M. Hurtado
Men's time allocation to subsistence work among the Ache of Eastern Paraguay. Human Ecology 13(1):29-47.

Hurtado, A. M., K. Hawkes, K. Hill and H. Kaplan
Female subsistence strategies among the Ache of Eastern Paraguay. Human Ecology 13(1):1-28.


Hill, K., K. Hawkes, A.M. Hurtado and H. Kaplan
Seasonal variance in the diet of Ache hunter-gatherers in Eastern Paraguay. Human Ecology 12:145-180.

Kaplan, H., K. Hill, K. Hawkes and A. M. Hurtado
Food sharing among Ache hunter-gatherers of Eastern Paraguay. Current Anthropology 25(1):113-115.

O'Connell, J. F. and K. Hawkes
Food choice and foraging sites among the Alyawara. Journal of Anthropological Research 40(4):504-535.


Hawkes, K.
Kin selection and culture. American Ethnologist 10:345-363.

Hill, K. and K. Hawkes
Neotropical hunting among the Ache of Eastern Paraguay. In Adaptations of Native Amazonians, edited by R. Hames and W. Vickers, pp. 139-188. New York: Academic Press.


Hawkes, K., K. Hill & J. F. O'Connell
Why hunters gather: Optimal foraging and the Ache of Eastern Paraguay. American Ethnologist 9:379-398.pdf


Hawkes, K. & J. F. O'Connell 1981 Affluent hunters? Some comments in light of the Alyawara case. American Anthropologist 83:622-626.pdf.

Hawkes, K.
A third explanation for female infanticide. Human Ecology 9:71-107.

O'Connell, J. F. and K. Hawkes
Alyawara plant use and optimal foraging theory. In Hunter-Gatherer Foraging Strategies: Ethnographic and Archaeological Analysis, edited by B. Winterhalder and E.A. Smith, pp. 99-125. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Hawkes, K.
Another explanation for bifurcate generation kinship nomenclature: The Binumarien case. Journal of Anthropological Research 34(3):369-391.

Hawkes, K.
Cooperation in Binumarien: Evidence for Sahlins' Model. Man (N.S.) 12:459-483.


Hawkes, K.
The assignment of relationship terms in Binumarien. Ethnology 16:309-329.


Hage, P. and K. Hawkes
Binumarien color categories. Ethnology 14:287-300.